Distinguished Young Women Competition Winners Named

Cara Hallam

Twenty-seven hopeful candidates participated in the 47th annual Distinguished Young Women of Turlock competition – formerly known as Jr. Miss – on Saturday.

When the night was done, two Distinguished Young Women were left standing with the title, scholarships, and a chance to compete at the state level – Claire Littlefield and Megan Wade, both of Pitman High School.

The Distinguished Young Women of Turlock competition is part of a national scholarship program to help high school girls develop their full potential, and to showcase their accomplishments.

“This year’s participants have put a great deal of time and sweat preparing for this night,” said Co-Chairs Kristi Garcia and Monica Roberts. “We have encouraged them along the way to always 'Be Your Best Self.'”

Littlefield, a junior at Pitman High School, hopes to attend the University of San Diego where she will pursue a degree in Public Relations. During the talent portion of the competition, Littlefield played popular songs on the bells and glockenspiel. During the self-expression category, Littlefield shared that as an adopted child herself, she hopes to one-day help orphans around the world.

Wade, also a junior at Pitman High School, hopes to attend University of California, Berkeley where she will pursue a degree in dance. During the talent portion of the competition, Wade performed dance on pointe. During the self-expression category, Wade shared that she hopes to leave a legacy of love and follow her passion for dancing.

Dr. Curt Andre hosted the event, which drew approximately 250 individuals. Andre, former Mayor of the City of Turlock for sixteen years, has acted as the Master of Ceremonies for the Jr. Miss competition numerous times throughout the years.

“You will not be disappointed with tonight’s show,” said Andre to the audience before the show started. “You will leave excited for their future.”

The participants were split into two groups – the red and the blue group. Each group was judged on three categories: Fitness, Talent, and Self-Expression.

The fitness portion featured each group of young women participating in a workout/dance routine choreographed by Kristi Garcia of the Backstage Academy of Dance. Other choreographers included Monica Roberts, Cindy Alamo, Siera Garcia, and Nicole Macedo.

For the talent portion of the competition, participants had 90 seconds to showcase their talent of choice. Talents performed included singing, dancing, poetry reading, acting, hula hooping, playing various instruments, and more.

During the self-expression portion, each candidate gave a short speech explaining what she hopes to accomplish in life, as well as what college she hopes to attend.

Participants were also judged on interviews that were held prior to the competition, as well as their academic history.

The panel of judges included Kacie Lesky, Jennifer Rossi, Shannon Bird, Nancy Lily, and Brenda Humphreys.

After an hour of waiting for the judges to make their final decisions, the participants were brought back to the stage for the final results.

The results of the competition were as follows:
Be Your Best Self Award – $100
Cierra Booz, Turlock High School
Jelena Bravo, Turlock High School
Elisiah Frank, Pitman High School
Madeline Roche, Hilmar High School

Spirit Award – $100
Bailey Virgo, Hilmar High School
Rachel Redding, Pitman High School
Megan Wade, Pitman High School
Madeline Roche, Hilmar High School

Scholastic Award – $150
Claire Littlefield, Pitman High School
Rachel Redding, Pitman High School
Hayley Rovito, Pitman High School
Maggi Strom, Hilmar High School

Interview Award – $150
Natalie Bartell, Turlock High School
Kayli Perry, Turlock High School
Maggi Strom, Hilmar High School
Claire Littlefield, Pitman High School

Fitness Award – $150
Sara DeGraff, Turlock High School
Morgan Loomis, Pitman High School
Devin Espinola, Turlock High School
Megan Wade, Pitman High School

Talent Award – $150
Megan Wade, Pitman High School
Cameron Martinez, Turlock High School
Emily McAlister, Pitman High School
Morgan Loomis, Pitman High School

Self Expression Award – $150
Natalie Bartell, Turlock High School
Aurora Jimenez, Hilmar High School
Maggie Strom, Hilmar High School
Megan Wade, Pitman High School

Special Recognition – $150
Maggie Strom, Hilmar High School

Second Runner Up – $ 250
Rachel Redding, Pitman High School

First Runner Up – $500
Aurora Jimenez, Hilmar High School

The top two winners of the competition each won a $750 scholarship, and the opportunity to go on to the Distinguished Young Women state competition. The North and South (not based on geographical location) Turlock winners are:

North – Claire Littlefield, Pitman High School
South – Megan Wade, Pitman High School

Last year’s Distinguished Young Women of Turlock winners Stefanie Velasquez and Nicole Larson were also present to pass down their titles to Littlefield and Wade.

To learn more about the Distinguished Young Women national scholarship program, please visit http://distinguishedyw.org.

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